According to a new study, eating fermented foods reduces inflammation and boosts immunity.

Fermented foods, which are high in live probiotics (also known as beneficial gut bacteria), have long been the darlings of dietitians due to their numerous microbiome-balancing advantages. Probiotic strains found in naturally spicy foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi have been shown in studies to improve general digestive and respiratory health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

However, until latterly, there had been little analysis to show how. We now know that the advantages of fermented foods may be linking to their ability to battle signs of chronic inflammation in the body, thanks to a new study undertaken by Stanford University researchers.

The researchers accidental assigned 36 healthy adults to a ten-week meal regimen that was either rich in fermented foods (such as yogurt, kimchi, vegetable, fruits, and kombucha) or rich in fibrous foods, such as vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds, to investigate the relationship between fermented foods and inflammation. They were interested in the benefits of fermented foods, or fiber foods alone would win out because both have been shown to enhance gut health and immunity in the past.

“To help participants appliance these Raw foods changes in a long-term, sustainable way, the dietitians gave them a counsel to each type of food and then let them eat whatever foods within that category they liked and could find at their grocery store, just directing them to eat six servings total each day,” says Hannah Wastyk, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. student at Stanford.

The researchers monitored over 230 different markers of inflammation throughout and after the ten weeks. They discovered a significant difference: Those who ate fermented foods had a lower level of 19 other inflammatory proteins in their blood, whereas those who ate a fiber-rich diet had no such pattern.

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